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—  Village  —
Houses on New Hey Road
Woodchurch is located in Merseyside
 Woodchurch shown within Merseyside
Population 8,400 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SJ279870
   – London  179 mi (288 km)[2] SE
Metropolitan borough Metropolitan Borough of Wirral
Metropolitan county Merseyside
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WIRRAL
Postcode district CH49
Dialling code 0151 6**
ISO 3166 code GB-WRL
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Wirral West
List of places

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Woodchurch is an area of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, in England. Administratively, Woodchurch is within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, its parliamentary constituency is Wirral West, and its local council ward is Upton. At the 2001 Census, it had a population of 8,400 (3,840 males, 4,560 females).[1] Woodchurch is dominated by a large housing development, known as the Woodchurch Estate. The district is served by several schools and has the major Arrowe Park Hospital just outside its boundary, which was built on 15 acres (61,000 m2) of the park itself and opened in 1982.


Woodchurch was originally a farming area and ancient village of the Wirral Hundred, known mainly for its parish church and the neighbouring Arrowe Park country estate. The first recorded owner of the land was an Anglo-Saxon chief called Aescwulf who claimed ownership of Woodchurch, Arrowe and Landican.[3] Although not recorded in the Domesday Book, Woodchurch was recorded as Wude Church in 1093.[4]

The population was 52 in 1801, 96 in 1851 and 140 in 1901.[5]

The area was purchased by Birkenhead Corporation in 1926, becoming part of Birkenhead civil parish. Construction of a new housing estate complete with shops, schools, industry and lesuire facilities began immediately after World War II. Of the old village, only the church and its adjoining school remain.

From 1968, the Champion Spark Plug Company operated an automotive components factory on Arrowe Brook Road, employing at one time over 1,000 people. It was closed in 2006 with production transferred to Italy.

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the CO-OP operated a clothing factory and industrial laundry on Woodchurch Road and its water-tower and chimney were local landmarks. This business had become a Leo's superstore by 1986,[6] and is currently a branch of Asda.


The housing estate was planned in 1944 by Sir Charles Reilly, although this scheme was replaced by that of his student, H. J. Rowse.[7] Building commenced in 1946,[7] with the first house being officially opened on 6 May 1949.[8]

The housing estate itself is populated by mainly low income residents, with well above average levels of unemployment. During the late 1960s and 1970s, youths from Woodchurch were periodically involved in gang violence with youths from neighbouring estates. In the early 1980s, during a period of exceptionally high national unemployment, the area gained a reputation for drug and social problems (as did some neighbouring estates like those of Noctorum and Ford). In the late 1980s the estate was given a facelift, along with some of its neighbours. Today its social problems are largely a thing of the past, although unemployment levels are still above the UK national average.


Holy Cross Church is the Church of England church, dating from the 12th century.[9] The distinctive Roman Catholic St. Michael and All Angels church was designed by the F. X. Velarde Partnership,[10] and was founded in 1962.[5] Woodchurch Methodist Chapel was built in 1963.[5]


Despite the low income catchment area, the local comprehensive, Woodchurch High School, has consistently attained a strong ranking in the Government's national league tables for secondary education. Noctorum Girls School was situated on the edge of the estate, on the Woodchurch side of the M53 motorway. The school later closing in the early 2000s and after being demolished in 2009 the site is now being redeveloped for new housing.


Public houses

Woodchurch has three public houses, these being The Stirrup, The Woodchurch, and the Arrowe Park Hotel. The Pelican was closed and demolished in the early 2000s.[11]

Parks and commons

Woodchurch is situated adjacent to Arrowe Park. The housing estate is separated from the M53 motorway by a large piece of common land.


Woodchurch Leisure Centre has an indoor 25 m (82 ft) heated swimming pool, an aerobics studio, an adjacent Sports Barn and outdoor football pitches.[12] The leisure centre hosts the Wirral Judo Club, as well as karate and archery clubs.[13]

Notable people

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wirral 2001 Census: Woodchurch, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, archived from the original on 29 September 2007, retrieved 10 July 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Coordinate Distance Calculator". boulter.com. Retrieved 6 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Arrowe". Old Wirral. Retrieved 31 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Wirral Historic Settlement Study" (PDF). National Museums Liverpool. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Cheshire Towns & Parishes: Woodchurch, GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, retrieved 4 June 2007<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "D-block GB-328000-384000". BBC Domesday Reloaded. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Young, Derek (1983). Pictures from the past: A unique collection of photographs of old Greasby, Irby, Woodchurch and Upton. The author. sec. Woodchurch. ASIN B0016593RY.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "History of Woodchurch High School". Woodchurch High School. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Wirral". Allerton Oak. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Proctor 2014, p. 284
  11. "Pub". Wirral Memories. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Woodchurch Leisure Centre". Wirral Council. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Woodchurch Leisure Centre" (PDF). Wirral Judo Club. Retrieved 7 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Proctor, Robert (2014). Building the Modern Church: Roman Catholic Church Architecture in Britain, 1955 to 1975. ISBN 9781409449164. OCLC 874584604.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Mortimer, William Williams (1847). The History of the Hundred of Wirral. London: Whittaker & Co. pp280-283.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Woodchurch Estate, Birkenhead". Architect and Building News: 132–135. 14 February 1947. ISSN 0570-6416. OCLC 1481847.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "The Woodchurch Estate". Architect and Building News: 406–409. 13 October 1950. ISSN 0570-6416. OCLC 1481847.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Church at Woodchurch, Birkenhead". Architects' Journal: 941–952. 13 April 1966. OCLC 60627355.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links